Blockchains are renowned for being able to help restore trust and offer greater transparency which, given the ‘fake news’ that is swirling around covid-19, is vital if governments are to be able to take decisive steps to protect citizens from the covid-19 pandemic. The MiPasa is designed to enable people to check whether they have been close to someone who has been infected with Covid-19.
MiPasa has been designed not to collect personal information and since Blockchain-powered platforms are able to create an immutable and verifiable database, MiPasa is seen as an ideal technology especially in a situation where people’s lives could be at risk.
By using Blockchain technology it is possible to hold data in a highly secure manner and make it available globally. Conceivably even more useful is that any of the information held could be passed between different parties without disclosing certain information i.e. personal details. The use of anonymised data is proving to be very valuable and, indeed, was a topic addressed in 100+ page comprehensive report produced for the European Parliament, looking at the challenges of Blockchain and GDPR. Another ID project using Blockchain technology to track Covid-19 is being built in China by Elastos and is designed to track an individual’s health using strict privacy controls. Being interoperable it could be used between different cities and countries, hence if you were tested to be negative to the virus in the U.K, you would be free to travel to the USA by presenting your credentials recorded on this Blockchain-powered app.
In the case of tracking the spread of a virus such as Covid-19, various parties, e.g. governments and organisations (such as WHO), will most likely be looking for trends – which age groups, sex, ethnicity etc, are catching the virus in different countries. From this the statistics would reflect mortality and survival rates, as opposed to whom individually has/ has not contracted the illness. Alongside this, a research paper looking at the sharing of digital medical records for oncology patients highlighted the use of anonymised data to be beneficial for the prompt care of cancer patients, as well as for the development of other medical research.
The ability for Blockchains to gather data, hold it securely and make it anonymised may well lead to greater demand for Identity Cards being used. In desperate times, such as now, unusual actions do happen. For example, the usually strict Disclosure Barring Service checks carried out for due diligence on potential new employees have temporarily been changed:
● ID documents to be viewed over video link;
● scanned images to be used in advance of the DBS check being submitted.
Will we see governments, which presently do not have ID cards, introduce them so that infections rates and eligibility for payments, such as furloughing or potential eligibility for vaccinations (as and when there is one for Covid-19) can be tracked?